When you consider the amount of time you spend with your work colleagues, it’s natural that friendships may develop there. A Gallup study shows that 37% of people with a friend at work are more likely to report that someone at work encourages their development.
Some of the benefits of having friends at work include greater job satisfaction, potentially makes it easier to resolve conflicts, and can boost productivity. Companies benefit from these work friendships because these workers tend to help each other and communicate better which in turn increases productivity. Try these strategies to have friends at work.
Strategies for Friendships at Work:
- Establish boundaries. Do it first thing to eliminate any confusion or potential hurt feelings. It’s important to keep in mind that it is a work setting that has different rules than when it is your personal life. By having clear boundaries, when conflicts do come up, and they do, you will have a higher success of working through the conflict.
- Remain objective. When you are friends, it can sometimes be easy to lose perspective and lose your objectivity. Respect your friends by following the rules and procedures without expecting or giving special treatment. This is especially important if you’re close to your supervisor. Maintain the quality of your work by sharing unbiased feedback with each other.
- Limit socializing. Keep an eye on yourself to ensure that any gossip remains good-natured and harmless. Watch how you spend your days. Try to keep it during breaks or lunch if possible. By getting your work done in a timely manner, you can help reassure your employer who may be concerned that being friends can lead to slacking off.
- Be supportive. Having a friend at work can serve as an opportunity to help each other do well. Be there for each other to relieve stress, talk things over, and lend a hand during busy periods.
- Reach out to others. Protect workplace morale by avoiding cliques. Strive for an inclusive workplace. Invite others along when you and your pals go to lunch. Mingle with others at birthday parties and holiday events.
Things to keep in mind:
- Recognize the extent of your connection. Even if you feel very close to a colleague you see every day, that connection may still be limited to the context of work. If one of you moves or changes jobs, the friendship will potentially change or fade. Expect such relationships to fluctuate.
- Maintain relationships and support networks outside of the office. There’s a good reason why family and friends outside of the office are the most important relationships for most people. These connections are usually more enduring because they’re based on personal qualities. They also provide balance even when your career is genuinely rewarding.
- Not everyone is comfortable with making friends at work. Some people prefer to keep their relationships on a more formal level. And, that’s ok. Respect their wishes. It doesn’t mean you can’t say hello or ask how they are doing.
- Workplaces can be a very competitive environment. Will my peer get promoted and I have to report to them? How awkward might that be? As managers and leaders, it is best to maintain a certain distance from your direct reports to avoid being viewed as showing favoritism.
We spend more time at work than at home and it makes sense we would have friends at work. Building strong social connections at work can make you happier to go to work every day. Remember to be smart about the friendship and where it is happening. Enjoy having friends at work!